| 2 Summary of Ethics


Overall Meaning: The Meaning of Advice

Nasihah linguistically: nasaha al-shay’: a thing has become pure. al-Nasih is a pure substance - honey or its like. Anything that khalas - has become unadulterated and purified - then it has nasah. Nush (advice) is the antonym of ghishsh (cheating). [624] Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn Manzur (2/615).

Nasihah technically: is calling towards that which has benefit, and forbidding that which will cause corruption. [625] al-Ta`rifat, al-Jurjani (p. 241). The Difference between Advice and Taunting (Ta`yir)

They are equal in that they are mentioning to a person what he would dislike to hear… Mentioning man in a way he would dislike to hear himself in is impermissible if its sole intent is to belittle, rebuke, and reprimand. If, however, there is benefit in this for the Muslim masses, especially a group among them, and its intent was to realise said benefit, then it is not impermissible, rather recommended. [626] al-Farq bayn al-Nasihah wa al-Ta`yir, Ibn Rajab (p. 7), with little adaptation. The Virtue of Advice and Encouragement towards it in the Qur’an and Sunnah

❖ Allah, exalted, says, narrating from Nuh, peace be upon him: “He replied, ‘My people, there is nothing astray about me! On the contrary, I am a messenger from the Lord of all the Worlds: I am delivering my Lord’s messages to you and giving you sincere advice. I know things from Allah that you do not.” al-A`raf: 61 - 62.
❖ Likewise, what He, exalted, said narrating from Shu`ayb, peace be upon him: “I delivered my Lord’s messages to you and gave you sincere advice.” al-A`raf: 93
❖ Tamim al-Dari, Allah be pleased with him, said: “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: ‘Religion is sincere well-wishing.’ We said: ‘To whom?’ He said: ‘Allah, His Book, His Messenger, the leaders of the Muslims, and their common folk.’” [627] Reported by Muslim (55).
❖ Abu Hurayrah, Allah be pleased with him, said: “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: ‘The rights of a Muslim upon his Muslim brother are six.’ It was said: ‘What are they, Messenger of Allah?’ He ﷺ said: ‘To greet him when you meet, to accept his invitation, to advise him if he sought your advice, to respond if he sneezed and praised Allah, to visit him if he’s sick, and to follow his funeral if he dies.’” [628] Reported by Muslim (2162). Meaning, if he consults you about a matter, then advise him with what you would love for yourself. If it is a beneficial matter in all its facets, then encourage him towards it. If it is harmful, then warn him against it. If it is a combination of both, then explain it to him, and judge between benefit and harm. [629] Bahjat Qulub al-Abrar, al-Sa`di (p. 112). Quotes of the Predecessors in Advice

❖ Ibn al-`Abbas, Allah be pleased with them both, was asked about enjoining the sultan to what is right and forbidding from what is wrong. He said: “If you must do so, then make it between him and you.” [630] Reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah in al-Musannaf (37307) and al-Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-Iman (7186).
❖ Ibn al-Mubarak was asked: “What are the best of deeds?” He said: “Advice towards Allah.” It was said: “So enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong?” he said: “If he truly advises well, he won’t need to enjoin nor forbid.” [631] al-Amr bil-Ma`ruf wa al-Nahy `an al-Munkar, Ibn Abi al-Dunya (p. 107). Benefits of Advice
It is the heart of religion and the crux of faith. It is a sign of loving good for others, and hating that they be afflicted with evil. Creates an abundance of friendships, since people feel safe around the advisor. It also diminishes those who are envious of him, since he does not love that corruption and evil afflicts others. Rectitude of society, since virtue is widespread therein and any vice is concealed. Replaces mercy and love in the place of harshness and animosity. Whoever gives advice in the correct way should be ennobled, not lambasted and rebuked. [632] Nadrat al-Na`im, a group of authors (8/3507). Forms of Advice
Towards Allah. Towards His Book. Towards His Messenger ﷺ. To the rulers of the Muslims. To the Muslim masses. Rules of Advice
Being sincere in one’s advice. Knowledge of the matter one is advising about. That it is not public. To adhere to appropriate time and space. Lenience and gentleness in advice. That it is not given with the condition of it being accepted. Means and Ways to Advise
Fulfilling the need of the advised, then advising them. Giving gifts. Messaging. Being in their company and mixing with them. Examples of Advice from the Life of the Prophet ﷺ and Companions

❖ Mu`adh, Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ sent me and instructed me this: ‘You will soon find yourself in a community one among the People of the Book. First, call them to testify that there is no god but Allah, that I am the messenger of Allah. If they accept this, then tell them Allah has enjoined upon them five prayers during the day and the night. If they accept it, then tell them that Allah has made legal charity obligatory upon them, and that it should be collected from the rich and distributed among the poor. If they agree to it, do not collect from them the best of their wealth. Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, for there is no barrier between it and Allah.” [633] Reported by al-Bukhari (1395) and Muslim (19) and the wording is his.
❖ Allah’s Messenger ﷺ advised Mu`adh and Abu Musa al-Ash`ari when he sent them to Yemen, saying: “Make things easy, not difficult. Give glad tidings, do not repel people. Work together and do not differ.” [634] Reported by al-Bukhari (3038) and Muslim (1733).
❖ Abu Juhayfah, Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet ﷺ made a bond of brotherhood between Salman and Abu al-Darda’. Salman paid a visit to Abu al-Darda' and found Umm al-Darda’ dressed in shabby clothes and asked her why she was in that state. She replied: ‘Your brother Abu al-Darda’ is not interested in the luxuries of this world.’ In the meantime, Abu al-Darda’ came and prepared a meal for Salman. Salman requested Abu al-Darda’ to eat with him, but Abu al-Darda’ said: ‘I am fasting.’ Salman said: ‘I am not going to eat unless you eat.’ So, Abu al-Darda’ ate with him. When it was night and a portion of it had passed, Abu al-Darda’ got up to offer the night prayer, but Salman told him to sleep, so he did. After some time, Abu al-Darda’ again got up but Salman told him to sleep. When it was the last hours of the night, Salman told him to get up then, and both of them offered the prayer. Salman told Abu al-Darda’: ‘Your Lord has a right on you, your soul has a right on you, and your family has a right on you; so you should give the rights of all those who have a right on you.’ Abu Al-Darda’ came to the Prophet ﷺ and narrated the whole story. The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘Salman has spoken the truth.’” [635] Reported by al-Bukhari (1968). Proverbs and Poetry in Advice

❖ al-Shafi`i said: “Whoever admonishes his brother secretly has advised him and shown him respect, and whoever admonishes him publicly has exposed him and disgraced him.” [636] Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din, al-Ghazali (2/182).
❖ “Listen to who has no choice but to advise you.” Meaning, accept the advice of those who want benefit for you - parents and all those who gain nothing personally from advising you, but rather you have everything to gain. [637] Majma` al-Amthal, al-Nisapuri (1/67, 344).
❖ al-Asma`i said:

“Advice is the cheapest thing a man can sell, So
reject not from an advisor his advice, nor blame.

Advice - the way it is presented is not unknown
To those good-hearted men of understanding.” [638] Majma` al-Hikam wa al-Amthal fi al-Shi`r al-`Arabi, Ahmad Qabish (p. 510).
❖ It is attributed to al-Shafi`i that he said:

“Purposefully advise me in isolation;
Avoid advising me in a congregation.

Advice among the people is a type of
Rebuke that I cannot accept hearing.

If you differ from me and disobey me,
Then be not inept when disobeyed.” [639] Diwan al-Imam al-Shafi`i (p. 9).

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